The number one thing that can slow your lumping team down when unloading a truck is a dumped load. It’s a mess to clean up, can damage a lot of products, and can pose a safety risk to your team and other products and equipment if not handled carefully. Therefore, the best way to avoid damage and lost time is by preventing a dumped load altogether. These are our tips to do just that:
Take Caution to Inspect for Damage
One of the best things your team can do to prevent loads is to check for damage early and often. A damaged pallet is a lot harder to catch once stacked with product, and a torn stretch wrap is a lot harder to fix once it’s loaded on the truck. Each step of preparing and loading product onto the truck should come with a quick quality check to ensure a safe journey.
Avoid Dragging, Throwing or Pushing Pallets
The proper technique for moving a pallet is by lifting and placing it intentionally and with care. Any unnecessary contact with the ground or other obstacles can lead to a higher rate of damaged pallets, so dragging, throwing, and pushing pallets is frowned upon. This includes pinwheeling, a common practice of pushing one corner of a pallet with a forklift to rotate it quickly. Even if it doesn’t do visible damage, the extra wear and tear of these practices can weaken the pallet, causing it to break mid-trip. So, it’s best to take it off the table entirely!
Don’t Stack Sky High
Precariously-placed spare pallets can quickly become a dangerous mountain if kept unchecked, which is why our next few tips revolve around pallet stacking. At AFS, we have a policy never to stack pallets by hand any higher than eight high by hand. Anything else can be aided by a forklift instead to keep workers safe.
Stack Pallets Neatly to Avoid Shifting
Both spare pallets and those holding product and stacked on a truck should be carefully centered on the pallet below it. This helps ensure that they won’t move dangerously while the truck is in motion or as spare pallets are removed from their stack. Shifting in transit is the number one culprit that leads to dumped loads, and it can have a compounding effect on adjacent pallets if not handled carefully.
Schedule Pallet Repair Time in Advance
It’s easy to get behind in pallet repairs and then suddenly find your team in need and having to make due with one that’s damaged. To keep the situation from becoming dire, first store your damaged pallets separate from those still in good condition. This will make it easier to know when damages start stacking up and help save time when workers are looking for usable pallets.
Then schedule time each week or month to address the damages of pallets and make adjustments or discard them entirely. By having time carved out, you can reduce your workload quickly, avoid putting it off, and limit dumped loads due to damaged tools.
Know Which Entry Point to Use
Pallets sit square or nearly square, which can make them appear nearly identical when turned and flipped, but their sides are very different. The 40-inch side has openings available for both pallet jacks and forklifts, but the 48” side is only capable of accommodating forklifts. Making sure your team uses the correct side every time can prevent damage that leads to dumped loads while saving time.
Have a Backup Plan When Dumped Loads Happen
Even when following every protocol carefully, dumped loads will happen in a supply chain from time to time. When they do, you need to inspect the product for damages, restack it, secure it, and avoid shifting surrounding pallets to avoid additional dumps. Working with a specialized rework team can give you the advantage of careful training and quicker turnarounds to keep the supply chain moving.
If you’d like to know more about safeguards you can take to prevent dumped loads and other supply chain inefficiencies, reach out to our team for more information.